Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rappers vs. Imus

Obviously, the US has been in the middle of a cultural firestorm over Don Imus's comments. Many commentators, black and white, including Maya Angelou, have laid part of the responsibility at the feet of black rappers.

Below, rapper Snoop Dogg dismisses comparisons between sexist hip hop lyrics and the recent sexist/racially charged remarks made by Don Imus -

"It's a completely different scenario. (Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about hoes that's in the 'hood that ain't doing sh*t, that's trying to get a n***a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-a** white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them m****f****s say we are in the same league as him. Kick him off the air forever."


Amy said...

Oh, yikes... You left me hanging. No comment/opinion from you?
All I have to say is that all this stuff is disgusting, and the fact that the rappers say it doesn't make it okay for a radio show host to say it. And the idea that the rappers are talking about actual "hoes" or prostitutes doesn't make it any less offensive or any more edifying. It's all garbage. None of it is justifiable.

jayme & jon said...

Oh boy. While I *suppose* I can see a semantical difference in the context that those words have been used, the end result is that in neither situation are young women of colour positively affirmed.

For the past several years, the rap community (which is distinctly different from the hip-hop community) has made arguments for trying to "reclaim" the use of certain words (i.e. the "n" word, etc.). They say that they're trying to flip the script, and assert some "ownership" over terms that have historically been used to dehumanize an entire racial group.

In my opinion, the problem lies in the fact that these words are still dehumanizing. They are not words that were once neutral and then usurped for a negative use. And just because a select group of people is now trying to "reclaim" those words doesn't erase decades of negative connotation.

It's the same old "divide and conquor" mentality that plagues all segments of society who do not currently hold power. The fact that Snoop fails to see the problem inherent in calling ANY young black women "hoes" only reinforces that mentality.

As far as Imus, though his comments were deplorable and disgusting, I have to admit that I saw a problem with those who called for his immediate firing.

The first amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech, and does not say anything about the freedom not to be offended by that speech. And although I definitely believe that public figures have a responsibility to act with decorum, I don't expect that I will agree with, or even not be offended by some of the things that they say.

However, we do live in a free market economy, and the way to get around the idea of "censoring" this idiot was to encourage the advertisers to pull their funding. That is exactly what happened, and it sends the same message without calling the constitution into question. Personally, I don't think it could have worked out any better.

Sorry to keep writing novels on your blog, but you keep giving me things to think about....

Brian (dad to 3) said...

What Snoop doesn't point out is that rappers are teaching young white kids (whites buy more rap music than blacks) to talk/treat women like this.

And young white kids grow up to be old-a** white men.

Jennifer said...

First of all, can I just tell you how appreciative I am that you chose to create a blog that gets people thinking and talking. Thank you for that!
As for the Imus vs. Rappers commentary, I am a middle of the road kind of girl... I am personally offended by both, but Imus is a "shock jock" and rappers make money off of people who enjoy their lyrics. They are both giving their "audience" what they want. I put Imus and Al Sharpton and Howard Stern and Jessie Jackson in very similar categories. Their intention is to stir things up. How they choose to do that is something I do not appreciate, nor do I ascribe to, but Imus has made a living off of comments like this for years. I wonder why there is only now an uproar? In the same vein, rappers are spewing their messages all over the airwaves, making millions by calling women bitches and ho's... why are we just know talking about it?
Ultimately, we have to stop buying the albums and listening to the programs... as Amy said it is "all garbage" and I can't help but think about that computer lingo I learned in elementary school- GIGO- when garbage is going in, then garbage is going to come out.

Swerl said...

More on Rappers vs. Imus tomorrow.

Swerl said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses!